Using Your Marketing Message
Using Your Marketing Message To Promote Your Accounting Practice
Creating a great marketing message takes time and a good deal of creativity. Once you have picked the message you are most comfortable with it is time to test it out.
Testing Your Marketing Message
Try out your message with colleagues, family and friends. Once you have used it a few times you need to answer the following questions;
- Are you comfortable using the message yourself?
- Do people quickly understand what you do?
- Does it help start conversations?
- Does it prompt people to ask relevant questions?
Take the feedback you get and make a judgement on whether you need to tweak your message or not. In most cases it will need tweaking, maybe your message is too long, too short, or needs some other fine-tuning. After any tweaking and fine-tuning be sure to re-test your message.
Multiple Marketing Messages
If your accounting firm provides a wide range of services that you can’t capture in one marketing message, you may need multiple marketing messages. Once you have created and tested your main marketing message you can easily customise the original message or if necessary create an entirely new message to cover additional strands of your business.
If you have multiple marketing messages and you don’t know which one to use with someone you have just met, you should ask a couple of questions first to decide which message is going to be most relevant to that person.
What questions could you ask to decide which marketing message to use?
Where to use your marketing message
When you have created a marketing message that helps people know what problems you solve, use it in person, on your voicemail, email signature, business card, stationery, website and any other marketing material you use.
Where appropriate use your marketing message along with your name when you are introducing yourself. “Hello I’m Sam Browne; I help global companies to reduce their tax bills.” Use it in the elevator, at networking and industry events and even at parties or in your social circle when someone asks you what you do.
When you leave a phone message
Give prospects a reason to call you back. Leave your marketing message along with your name and telephone number.
On your voicemail message
When people call you and get your voicemail, they should hear your marketing message along with details of the best way to contact you.
In Your Marketing Materials and Stationery
On your business card and Letterhead
Use a short version of your marketing message on your business card, when you hand it to people you have just met it will remind them of the problem you solve when they look at the card later. You should also use the short version of your marketing message on your letterhead and invoice stationery.
On your website and in email
Your marketing message – “the problems you solve” is an extremely important piece of information on your website, if you have multiple marketing messages your website should reflect this with multiple sections each with their unique message.
Your email signature should contain, your name, your website address, your marketing message and any other contact details you want to include.
Your autoresponders (an automated email response and email broadcasting system – which we will cover in a later post) should prominently use your marketing message in every message.
On Social Media
Your marketing message – should be included in your profile on Twitter, your info on Facebook and your company page on LinkedIn. You should also use a short version of your message when greeting people for the first time on Social Media.
In newsletters, ezines, surveys, case studies and press releases
Include your marketing message in any publications you create both physical and electronic. Typically you would include your marketing message at the bottom of a press release and at the beginning and end of other publications.
Beyond your Marketing Message
A great marketing message will open doors and start conversations. Don’t fall into the trap of spending the next 5 minutes reciting a speech about yourself or your firm. If you play it cool there will be plenty of time for that later.
What you need to do now is get a little key information from your prospect. When you ask someone a question not only do you show your interest in them, you also help to control the conversation and maintain your prospects interest. People love talking about themselves, and once you get them started they will normally be very happy to share their relevant problems, wants and needs with you.
No matter how good you are, you are not going to convert a prospect to a client at the first meeting. If you try the shutters will come down and you will have blown a perfectly good opportunity.
Instead use the opportunity to demonstrate your ability by asking insightful and succinct questions and collect valuable information that will help later on when you are doing a targeted follow up. You should collect your prospects business card and make a few notes about any problems and needs discussed on the back of it.
When you are next at your office be sure to enter your prospects contact details and any notes onto your contact management system. It is also important to send them a brief email thanking them for their time and connecting to them on Linked In.
You have done well, you have made a good first impression with your great marketing message and did everything right. What you do now will determine whether this is just another contact to your database or you will succeed in building a long term, mutually beneficial relationship.
Follow up with your prospects on a regular basis. You should try to share value with your prospects regularly. You can do this in a number of ways including newsletters, case studies and industry analysis; in all your communications you should of course use your marketing message. Done appropriately this will help reinforce the idea in your prospects mind that you provide solutions to their problems and will also help to establish trust.
Warning: Do this wrong and you will either end up annoying your prospects or in the spam bin or both.
We will cover this in much greater detail in a later post.
Doing More Business
Selling accounting services isn’t about convincing a prospect that they need your services. Selling your services will only happen when you and your prospect have a mutual understanding which involves identifying a problem or need they have and matching that with a solution you offer.
As an accounting firm, successfully selling your services will rely more on how much you listen rather than how much you say. When you first meet with a prospect you will have no idea what problems they face or what needs they have. Listen carefully and find common areas between the needs and problems your prospect has and the solutions you can offer.
It might be appropriate to consider whether you are in the business of “selling services” or “selling solutions”.
Occasionally prospects will initiate a conversation wanting to know how much you charge. If this happens, any price discussion will inevitably kill any potential of a sale because you are introducing obstacles into the process before you have even discussed the problems your client faces and the solutions you can offer.
Instead of first discussing price, steer the conversation with questions which identify the problems your client is facing and discuss potential solutions. Once you have had the conversation in that order you can then discuss price because at that point the focus will be more about value you offer rather than price tag.
Use thoughtful questions to gain a full understanding of your clients needs, give them the service they want, solve their problems and you will very quickly find yourself making sales instead of sales pitches. As a little bonus you will also enjoy the art of selling more too.
You will probably feel a little bit awkward the first few times you use your marketing message. After all you are talking about what you do in a whole new way. This is perfectly natural and once you stick with it you will quickly gain confidence and see the benefits of describing how you help your clients.
You can use your message to start a conversation and ask questions to keep it going. Your prospects will quickly understand the solutions you provide and ultimately you will attract more clients and more successful.
You can follow Finbarr on Twitter at @FinbarrMcCarthy